There are many different views on mental health and mental illness. In fact, there are so many different views, that I couldn’t even begin to cover them all. There is a lot of discussion online and on professional panels regarding mental health, though. I thought that it would be interesting to interview some people to get their personal view on mental health, so I took to Facebook and asked if anyone would be willing to answer some questions, to gain some insight on their views. I put together a list of ten questions that provide a basic overview of mental health- there are many more questions that I could have asked, but I wanted to keep things short and simple.
Jo lives in England, and here are her views on mental health and mental illness:
What is mental health?
My understanding of it is that it is a person’s non-physical well-being; how they feel about themselves and their life.
What are your thoughts on mental illness?
I feel that until recently is has been a taboo subject and not understood or accepted. I do think that it has recently been brought to the attention of the world by celebrities and is becoming more understood and tolerated.
Do you think there is a lot of stigma surrounding mental illness? Why?
Yes, I do, mainly because it could be considered as a weakness and a self-induced state.
How do you think we can end this stigma?
Talking, talking, talking, and admitting openly about it.
Have you ever been affected by mental illness, either personally or through someone you know?
Yes. Two of my children suffer and I have friends who also suffer. If I am going to be totally honest, so have I.
Do you know where to go to seek help with mental illness?
In the UK it is possible to be referred to a specialist through a GP. I’m not sure if you can refer yourself.
What are your thoughts on medications to treat a mental illness? Is this the way to go, or is there another way to treat mental illness?
I think medication has its place, certainly, but I think these should be used alongside therapy. Whether it would be grouped or one to one would probably depend on the individual.
How can you help someone with a mental illness?
Listen, care, and understand. I have heard a person say how horrible they thought they were: worthless, ugly, etc. My response was, “If I had said that instead, what would you say to me right now?”
If you were diagnosed with a mental illness, what would you want other people to know?
That it’s not contagious! It doesn’t mean you’re miserable and crying all the time, or too fragile to be included in life.
Do you know of any resources available about mental health? What are they?
I’m afraid I do not. Other than going through a GP.